There are several reasons that worms try to escape from worm bins, especially when they’re just getting started.

One reason is moisture: if your bin is too wet your worms will try to leave. This is because they breathe through their skins and will drown if conditions are too wet. Think of when you see worms on a sidewalk after a heavy rain – they drown in saturated earth and so come to the surface to escape. For more information on controlling moisture, see Worm Bin Moisture.

Another reason is temperature: if it is too hot, your worms might try to escape. Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bin is important. For more information, see Worm Bin Temperature.

A third reason for escape is food. You may have added something the worms dislike in your last feeding. Did you add anything spicy, salty, or that might have had chemicals on it (like plant clippings that you used pesticide on)? In addition, if worms aren’t getting enough food in the worm bin, they may try to leave to look for more food. For more information on feeding your worms, see What to Put in Your Worm Bin.

In order to discourage escaping, you can leave the lid off your Nature's Wormery for a few days, and leave the unit in a light room. Worms are very sensitive to light and will burrow down when confronted with it. This will keep them in their bedding instead of on the sides and top of your bin, and help them learn that they really do love their new home. Just make sure that when you have the lid off you are maintaining a moist environment. Moisture evaporates more quickly while the lid is off.

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